May 10, 2007

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They’re artists and they vote
And so do their customers: NH Citizens for the Arts launches effort to grab presidential attention
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

A New Hampshire organization is getting ready to let the presidential primary candidates know what really counts: the arts.

ArtsVoteNH, a project of New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts (NHCFA) and the Americans for the Arts Action Fund of Washington, D.C., will officially be launched at NHCFA’s annual meeting Wednesday, May 23, in Concord. 

“I think it’s a moment when people are looking for really bold new initiatives,” said Marilyn Hoffman, NHCFA president. “I think people are beginning to understand the arts can be part of the solution to our nation’s problems.” Arts can spur economic development, she said. Offering arts in school can help keep talented students from dropping out. And perhaps an Iraqi museum wouldn’t have been destroyed and a library burnt if Americans had more awareness of world arts and culture, Hoffman said.

ArtsVoteNH will ask campaign staffers to provide information about candidates’ ideas on arts policy or platforms, and will research how candidates support the arts in their home states. Reports about candidate positions will be posted at artsvotenh.org. The group will work to highlight the importance of dance, theater, film, music, history, literature, arts education, public TV and radio and the creative economy, including Web design, in daily life.

Suzanne Delle Harrison, part-time executive director at NHCFA, will recruit and dispatch volunteers to “bird dog” primary candidates.

About 10 years ago NHCFA created an initiative called Bipartisan Campaign for the Arts. Since then, most of their primary activities have been limited to board members’ questioning candidates at events — which can be quite effective, Hoffman said. When Gov. Bill Richardson visited Portsmouth several weeks ago, an NHCFA member asked him about arts issues at a Friday evening appearance, another talked to Richardson at a Saturday book signing, and by the time Hoffman met the governor at a house party that day Richardson had added a note about the arts to his introductory statement.

“The thing I liked about this is that it’s bipartisan,” Harrison said. She pointed out that after Sept. 11 one of the first things that happened was a telethon by Hollywood stars to raise funds for victims. “That’s artists. The arts can help in so many ways across all sorts of different socioeconomic problems.” Harrison is founder and artistic director of Yellow Taxi Productions, southern New Hampshire’s only professional year-round theater company. She worked for President Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, but as head of a 501(c)3 nonprofit she can no longer endorse a candidate.

The ArtsVoteNH project ends with the primary but Harrison hopes the effort will leave NHCFA stronger, with an expanded network of volunteers. This year’s state budget includes an increase to the NH Council on the Arts grants for the first time in about 20 years. That amount, approximately $50,000, still needs to be approved by the Senate, but “it’s very exciting,” Hoffman said.

Individuals and organizations are welcome to join NHCFA. Grappone Auto Group has given an initial donation and more in-kind and cash gifts are being sought.

See nhcfa.org for more information or call Suzanne Delle Harrison at 703-4414.




5/3/2007 Lowell is the canvas for a summer of art

4/26/2007 Local color
4/19/2007 Local color
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4/5/2007 A Saint paul student returns to show recent work
3/29/2007 Local color
3/22/2007 Compassionate cause
3/15/2007 Local color
3/8/2007 Making money
3/1/2007 Local Color
2/22/2007 Local Color
2/15/2007 Local Color
2/8/2007 Local Color
2/1/2007 DreamFarm Cafe's big show
1/25/2007 Built world
1/18/2007 Expressions of character
1/11/2007 Best practices
1/4/2007 Nominate your favorite for Governor's Arts Awards
12/28/2006 Art in 2006 in southern New Hampshire
12/21/2006 Time to learn
12/14/2006 Frisella's new studio; sell art for animals; girls only time
12/07/2006 Stained glass, found objects and ornaments
11/30/2006 No shortage of art sales
11/23/2006 A Granite State greeting
11/16/2006 Santa Claus hangs with artists
11/9/2006 Visual art meets poetry
11/2/2006 Local Color
10/26/2006 Local Color
10/19/2006 Local Color
10/12/2006 Almost 80 artists in Hollis ...
10/05/2006 Fine art in a field
09/28/2006 Local Color
09/21/2006 Local Color
09/14/2006 Local color
09/07/2006 Bel Espirit, a happening of chance
08/31/2006 An artistic endeavor
08/24/2006 The almost-all architecture edition
08/17/2006 Half century of creativity
08/10/2006 Obsession with the Isles of Shoals
08/03/2006 See the precise craft of carving with a chainsaw
07/20/2006 For museums or your living room
07/13/2006 Making their mark
07/06/2006 Sense of place
06/29/2006 New ground
06/22/2006 MAA honors scholars an artists of the year
06/15/2006 Galleries open doors
06/08/2006 It's sticky up here
06/01/2006 Mural for MCAM
05/25/2006 Scenes from the air
05/18/2006 Vanguardians sit down
05/11/2006 Public masterpiece
05/04/2006 Art helps kids at MAA show
04/27/2006 In-house artists on display
04/20/2006 No Pinocchio here
04/13/2006 School's out art's in
04/06/2006 Meet Michael Toomey
03/30/2006 Art builds community ...
03/23/2006 From Celtic design to Ayn Rand
03/16/2006 Got Cow?
03/09/2006 A creative view of China
03/02/2006 Monastery Arts open new show
02/23/2006 Love and art in one location
02/16/2006 Job loss leads to artistic success
02/09/2006 Art in the key of Adam and Eve
02/02/2006 Art to make you think
01/26/2006 New York artists to show at Derryfiled School
01/19/2006 A new age of artwork
01/12/2006 Photography buffs unite
01/05/2006 Jeweler teaches her trade
Alison Williams
All together now
A forest through the trees
A light in the dark
An event for artists, by artists
Anne Dufresne
Armand Szainer: never forget
Art group picks artist of the year
Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
Arts In Education Conference
Art like Crayons for grown-ups
Art you can sit on (if you own it)
Better Living Through Artistry
Capturing history with a panaramic view
Ceramic Biennial
Currier Kicks Off 2005 With NHSS Show
Die fotografieren
Doug Mendoza: Body Artist
Enjoying the Open Doors Trolley Tour
East Colony Fine Art has gone jazz
Equal Arts Opportunities
Exploring purgatory and paradise
Expressions coming from within
Fighting cancer with creativity
Free food, free music and plenty of art
Harry Umen: New Work

Head of the class
Heating up the canvas
Inside the artist’s studio
It’s art, and it’s even practical!
James Aponovich

James Chase
Jan De Bray
Local Artist, Global Message
Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
MAA Gallery Mixes It Up
Making Book With Children
Manchester Art In 2004
Morgan's "Danse" Comes To Manch
Morin Avoid Typecasting
NHIA chalks it up to May 14
Open Doors Manchester Returns
Open Doors Trolley Tour, The Winter Version
Looking for a crowd? Just add art
McGowan Fine Art Turns 25
Nita Leger Casey
Patti Matthis
Saint Anselm Favorite Returns
Searching for the extraordinary
Small Town Art Hits The Big City
Spirit Of The Holidays Exhibit
Step into the Art Pad at Langer Place
Stride and ride
Tagging goes to wall, gets legit
The art and craft of Glendi
The art of signs to art and stuff
The Art Of The Qashquai

The Return Of The Art Trolley Tour
The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue
Two-continent painting exhibit opens
Using nature as a canvas
Waxwork
Women's Art Group Marks 10th Year
Wyeth Works Return To The Currier